A Fine Line
Best football player
that ever lived!
I was reminded of a great line about Walter Payton, speaking of Chicago and Illinois, and I told the story behind it.
An interviewer went up to a speaker (it was either John Madden or Mike Ditka), and asked whether Walter Payton was the best running back who ever lived.
Madden (or Ditka) took a deep breath, and then said something along the lines of “You know, once you get into that territory, you don’t really want to single people out. Running backs like Walter Payton, Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders – they were all great, and special in their own way.”
That perspective can help when comparing the financial condition of states like Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Kentucky. Once you get in that neck of the woods, comparing states, sometimes, you are making a distinction without a difference.
But after the line above, Ditka (or Madden) took another deep breath. And concluded with: “I just know one thing for sure. Walter Payton was the best football player that ever lived.”
Bill Bergman is Director of Research at Truth in Accounting. He is responsible for identifying, collecting and managing State Data Lab's database. This database provides healthy context for understanding state and local government financial conditions. Bergman has over twenty years of financial market experience, including thirteen years as an economist and policy analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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